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Educational Resource Library: Early Childhood

Wilderness Torah’s Passover in the Desert Second-Night Seder Youth Skit: The Four Children Collaborative Performance – Art & Storytelling Around the Fire

by Daniella Aboody
Wilderness Torah
As part of Wilderness Torah's Passover in the Desert festival, for the second-night Passover seder, we are doing an off-the-page co-created celebration around the bonfire! The Passover story will come alive through the brilliant and creative minds of each of member of the village, and be experienced through the ancient art of performative storytelling.

Weaving Community

by Ashley Davenport
Abundance Farm / Gan Keshet Preschool
Traditionally, weaving has deep roots in the Jewish culture. The craft of weaving is one of the 39 crafts that the Jewish people used to create the Mishkan (tabernacle) in the desert. Weaving, and many of the actions associated with weaving are mentioned specifically in the 39 Melachot, the list of labor forbidden on Shabbat. Although many of the traditional Jewish weaving techniques have been lost to exile, modern day ritual objects are often still made from woven materials, including challah covers, kippot and tallis. Looking back, history shows us that the nomadic Israelites used what fibers they had on hand, such as camel, goat, and sheep, to create their clothing and dwellings. These ancestral methods were simple. Using this simplicity as inspiration, the loom for this project is crafted from sturdy cardboard, the warp is made using cotton string, and the weft consists of long pieces of recycled fabric. Simplicity is often key in introducing new textile art projects to preschool age children. These projects are multifaceted and engaging to young minds, integrating core skill sets such as language and literacy development through oral storytelling, problem solving, pattern recognition, and fine motor development.

Wild and Wonderful Worms

by Brenden Jackson
Amir / Shalom Farm Houston
This program uses worms to explore how all of G-d's creatures work together to create a functioning garden/society/world. Participants will get the chance to explore the diverse ecosystem of healthy soil, specifically worms, and how it is because of this diversity that our garden can thrive. Students will also draw connections to their own differences between classmates, other community members, etc to see how all folks have a role to play creating a happy world. Using a simple prayer, participants will be able to connect how a praise to G-d for ?varied creatures? can apply to both humans and animals/insects.

Tu B’Shvat Youth Seders

by Daniella Aboody
Wilderness Torah
In the tradition of the Kabbalists (16th century mystics of Tsfat, Israel), we gather in the forest to create an experiential Tu B'Shvat seder (ceremony) that connects us to the trees and the elements, and we are taken on a journey from the physical world to the spiritual world. This oral tradition within Judaism encourages us to open ourselves to the mystery, wonder and creativity that this time of renewal and rebirth brings. During the seder, we delight in experiencing and tasting of p'ri ha-etz (the fruit of the trees) and celebrate the season together through the five senses, movement, mindfulness, ritual, and Tu B'Shvat teachings.

We are Shepherds like our Fathers Before Us (Meet the Goats)

by Rebecca Remis
Eden Village West
Through this activity, campers will be able to walk goats to pasture, learn a melody to Psalm 23, and relate shepherding goats to shepherding humans (through social norms).

The Three Sisters in Kehilla: The Power of Teamwork

by Anika Rice
Urban Adamah
This lesson makes a connection between how both plants and people live in community. On the farm, plants and other organisms are giving and receiving help from one another all of the time. This is reciprocity. Companion planting is the technique of sowing two crops together for a specific purpose, often pest control, space use or yield maximization. Native Americans have been planting the Three Sisters (corn, beans and squash) in one plot for generations. Not only does this trio help each other grow and use nutrients efficiently, but they have higher yields when planted together, and form a nutritious diet. People also need each other: to learn, to pray and to live a spiritual life. When we work in chevruta (learning partners) or are part of a minyan (prayer group), everyone involved can benefit from the group. We are individuals, but our communities are greater than the sum of their parts.

The ECO Passover connection

by Mira Minyuk
Pearlstone Center
This program connects children to the modern day issues of environmental plagues through an in depth look at text describing the plagues in the passover story, while also getting to appreciate the wonder of animals in a healthy eco-system through observation and touch. We will also touch on the subject of Matzah by discussing the significance of eating a bread that does not rise while making our own pita.

Shmita Wild Edibles Cards

by Bailey Lininger
Tamarack Camps
This program is a unique, interactive activity for a festival-style event that combines knowledge of local wild edible plants and the Jewish tradition of Shmita. For this program, the educator creates four unique ?trading cards? to pass out at the event, and two examples of local, foraged food. The trading cards serve as a way to get participants interested in the connections between wild edible plants and Shmita, and the food samples demonstrate the ease and accessibility of foraging.

Rosh Hashanah Honeybees

by Josh Kleymer
Mayerson JCC of Cincinnati
Using Rosh Hashanah as a springboard, the children will learn about bees and how they make honey. They will participate in a hide and seek type game before a wrap up discussion and honey taste test.

Seed Stories

by Brenden Jackson
Amir / Shalom Farm Houston
This program uses storytelling as an introduction into the importance of seeds and the connections foods play to different people and cultures. Participants will have the opportunity to connect with a specific seed/plant and learn how plants and the foods created from them, can act as a living conduits for these stories. It is also an opportunity for participants to see the connection between their Judaism and a specific plant/food, or create their own new and important connection. Lastly, using seed stories as a framework within the garden offers the opportunity to create a sense of connection and continuity between multiple groups of campers.

Pickle Clowns

by Alex Voynow
Jewish Farm School
A pickling workshop taught with the magic of clowning pedagogy!

Natural Sofer: Torah Art Explorah

by Emily Blustein
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
This program is an exploration into the Jewish tradition of Torah making. Through learning the traditional process of a sofer, the participants will get a hands-on painting/calligraphy activity.

Peah Forward

by Rebecca Remis
Eden Village West
Learn about and enact the value of peah through harvesting a delicious summer treat and decide how much to donate. Share the remaining bounty with the camp community. Experience the joy in working hard and sharing the abundance (through recognition in the dining hall, working with a community organization, and leaving camp for a field trip)

Lag b’Omer Fire and Forest Festival

by Maya Havusha
Eden Village Camp
Invite the magic of the forest into your life! Celebrate Lag B'Omer, an ancient Jewish festival about survival and spirituality, by rejoicing with our Eden Village community. Explore new forest skills, learn about kabbalah, and of course eat yummy snacks around the fire. With new eyes learn these time tested wilderness survival skills, such as shelter and fire building, making bows and arrows, wild edible walks among others.

Farmer Michael’s Wagon Garden

by Michael Fraade
Jewish Community of Louisville
Children planted seeds in a soil-filled wagon, which could easily be transported from classroom to classroom, and watched them grow over the course of four weeks. The culmination of the program was to bring the children and wagon out to the J's main garden to see how their plants fit into a larger picture and to allow them to sample many of the things they helped grow. The program also touched on topics such as where food comes from, Hebrew vocabulary, composting, using the five senses, and making observations.